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PCIe x1 card for 1080i playback?

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  • Tuner Cards
  • Video
  • Dell
  • Graphics
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Last response: in Graphics Cards
January 8, 2009 1:11:29 PM

I am inheriting a Dell GX520 mini-tower (P4 - 3.2ghz) and would like to use it as a video server to feed my Mitsubishi 1080i tv with HD video content, mostly movies but maybe a few games. I know the onboard video on the Dell won’t support HD playback so I’m looking for a reasonably priced (under $100) video card. The Dell has a PCIe x1 bus so my choices are quite limited. Can anyone suggest a x1 card with DVI-I output that will do what I’m looking for?

Best Regards,

Marcel

More about : pcie card 1080i playback

January 8, 2009 2:08:54 PM

Very few good options out there, actually better GPUs on PCI cards out there.

Depends on what you're trying to decode, but this might be sufficient, but any really heavy lifting you'd want something better;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It might be possible to add this to a PCIe 16X card, but it adds another potential failpoint;

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

but if you want BluRay playback, then I would recommend at least a GF8600/9500 or HD2600/3600/4600 the latter ones of both IHVs supporting dual stream decode.

However gaming won't be very stable on that, and it won't be great on the X1550 (although a little better than most current IGPs).
January 8, 2009 2:45:17 PM

Thanks for the informative reply!

I have PCI slots available so that's an option if GPU perfomance will be better than with the x1 slot. Which PCI cards would do the job? H.264 decoding would be nice but i can live without it in order to stay at my price point.

Best Regards,

Marcel

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January 8, 2009 3:58:25 PM

If it were me, I would dremel out the PCIe 1x slot and make it open ended. Then throw in an HD 2400/3450/4350 for a lot less than any PCI or PCIe-based GPU (although it's a travesty the PCIe 1x interface is so under-utilized and overpriced, even if things are getting a little better).

Example of open-ended PCIe 4x slot:


This is by far the riskiest solution proposed so far.
January 8, 2009 4:16:49 PM

Yes, I think that's still weak I prefer the 8500 or better if you can (just based on Cleeve's reviews of the two [8400 v 2400]) , for gaming the PCI solution is weak for gaming, but that PCIe solution is weak for HD.

I'd prefer somethig like these for the HD side of the equation;
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It's such a tricky balance, because if you ould get either that GF8500 or HD2400 on a single 1X PCIe I'd feel more comfortable about both.

Unfortunately NewEgg doesn't have the 8500. I like it because 128bit memory is nice for both gaming and for HD, size doesn't matter, but speed does help a bit, especially for things like noise reduction.

But if it's for the most basic type of gaming and not powerful FPS games, then it would be ok with something really low demand/power/load.
January 8, 2009 4:19:17 PM

I also agree with Kyle, if you can get it to work it might be worth it, it's just a little riskier, however could well be worth it especially if you take your time, be careful and don't do any physical damage to the pins, etc, it should be fine to try.

Just be sure you can return the card if it ends up not working.

I would say if you can get it to work, then either a low profile GF9600GS or an HD4650 would be perfect for this. I would prefer the GF9600 for now since I haven't seen low-een low- profile HD46xx yet, and I wouldn't want much weight on that connector.
January 8, 2009 5:57:15 PM

OK, lots of stuff to consider here. My first reaction to the Dremel idea was "No @#*! way" but upon further review it does make some sense. Why does the x16 card function in the x1 slot? It would seem that performance would be greatly reduced by the narrower data bus but I probably don't understand.

Oh, I should mention that the Dell has a 240W PS so low power consumption is also a requirement. Thanks for all the replies!

Best Regards,
Marcel
January 8, 2009 7:14:49 PM

It will be a little limited, but not nearly as much as you'd think (1/16th). Tom's did an article a while back (March 07) about scaling, here are the results:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/pci-express-scaling...

Keep in mind that is with a 975X motherboard which has PCIe 1.1 lanes, the HD 4650 has PCIe 2.0 lanes (so does your P45 mb) which have twice the bandwidth per lane. Also the 8800 is a more powerful GPU than the 4650, the X1900 is probably on par with it.

Edit: Here's the newer article that uses PCIe 2.0, and the 3850 is slightly more powerful than a 4650 (DDR3 version).
January 8, 2009 7:40:58 PM

That makes sense. Which bit did you use on your Dremel when u carved out the notch in the x1 bus?
January 9, 2009 1:15:01 PM

I knew someone around here had delved into this issue, I should have known chookman would be that guy.